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SEARCHLIGHT  OX  HINDUISM                               75

the immemorial traditions, the ancieixt books of Brahmin cere-
mony  these stand firm against all comers. Any such thing as a
Hindu 'Reformation' is quite unthinkable ; once you had finished
reforming Hinduism you would find that there was nothing left
to reform.

And yet, let us thankfully admit it, things are a little better 
say ten per cent.   The darkness is lifting  ever so slightly,


'"Little by little Hinduism creeps OUT OF the statute &ooA*/
Suttee,1 Thugee,2 infanticide, enforced widowhood  these were
all part and parcel of the Hindu religion ; they were all ab3lished,
at least on paper, by the Christian British, and their abolition
was fiercely contested by the Hindus in the name of their religion
 that religion which, we are asked to believe, springs from the
same source as Christianity,
It was the same with the devadasis, the temple prostitutes who
were dedicated from childhood to minister to the pilgrims and
the priests. There are not so many of those prostitutes as there
were, and they have been driven out of the big cities, particularly
since the war, which has flooded India with American soldiers.
It would not be very good propaganda for Congress if young men
from Milwaukee wrote home describing the orgies of pure and
unadulterated Hinduism ; it would not fit in at all with the
picture of a great 'spiritual* nation which was only prevented
from giving the world the inspiration of her 'spirituality5 by the
6 chains * of the British.
However, there are still plenty of devadasis to be found ; you
have only to go a little way off the beaten track, as I went, in the
south, to see them sitting at dusk in the doorways of the little
houses that are grouped around the temple area.3 Their hair is
1 The Hindu religious custom of burning widows alive.
2 The * Thugs* were professional religious assassins, who strangled their victims
by the hundreds.   They worshipped Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, and
invariably gave a share of their spoils to her.
8 The most flagrant examples of the devadasi cult in modern India are probably
to be found in the temples of Srirangaum  (near Trinchinopoli)  and TirupatL